M*A*S*H is an American TV series adapted from the 1970 movie MASH, based on the 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker.
The series has followed a team of doctors in the 4077th MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) stationed in South Korea during the Korean War. Premiered in the U.S on September 17, 1972 the series became very popular. MASH characters remained on TV screens for eleven seasons until February 28, 1983 when final episode was emitted. The last episode of MASH, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”, become the most watched television episode in U.S. television history of all time, with a record-breaking 125 million viewers, 60.2 Rating (percent of households watching) and 77 Share (percent of households watching, of those watching some program at that time).
M*A*S*H won a total of 14 Emmy Awards during 11 years. Alan Alda won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series six times: in 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. McLean Stevenson won the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series in 1974. The show also was awarded with the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series seven times: 1973 and 1974 Gene Reynolds, 1975 and 1976 Hy Averbeck, 1977, 1982 and 1983 Alan Alda. In 1976 M*A*S*H was honored with a Peabody Award “for the depth of its humor and the manner in which comedy is used to lift the spirit and, as well, to offer a profound statement on the nature of war.”
In the MASH 4077th, the lead character, Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce carries his own fight go on while trying to keep the mood light with practical jokes and his own peculiar humor. He used humor to deal with the challenge of war.
Beside him, there are some other illustrious characters among the hospital staff. Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, beloved commander of MASH 4077; Hawkeye’s best friend, in first three seasons, fun loving Captain John “Trapper” McIntyre; their psychotic roommate, Major Frank Burns, who was in love affair with Major Houlihan, attractive Head nurse Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan; Corporal Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, company clerk and “pet and child”, as Captain Pierce said in one of the episodes. His character shows how young boys became men during the war. His best friend is his teddy bear with whom he sleeps every night. Desperate Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger, MASH 4077’s crossdresser, who will do anything to get his Section 8, a certificate that he’s crazy and can be shipped back home. He later abandoned that pursuit when he took over Radar’s place as a company clerk. Another member of cheerful company is Father Francis Mulcahy who likes to feel needed. Ne was a voice of reason in many situations.
In the fourth season, a new commander and a new doctor arrived in MASH 4077. Colonel Sherman T. Potter came as a replacement for Colonel Henry Blake and very fast become a father figure to the company. Colonel Potter is an ex cavalry officer who likes horses. For his marriage anniversary Radar gave him a horse named Sophie. Captain B.J. Hunnicutt took over Trapper’s place and became Hawkeye’s new best friend and his partner in crime.
In the fifth season, arrogant Major Charles Emerson Winchester III becomes Hawkeye’s new roommate, replacing Major Burns who suffered a nervous breakdown because of Major Houlihan’s marriage and was held for psychiatric evaluation.
Except them, there were a lot of other actors and statists with episode and side roles. Many of them played two or more characters during 11 seasons.
MASH 4077 Actors:
Alan Alda – Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce
Wayne Rogers – Captain John Francis Xavier “Trapper John” McIntyre
McLean Stevenson – Lt. Colonel Henry Braymore Blake
Loretta Swit – Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan
Larry Linville – Major Franklin Marion “Frank” Burns
Gary Burghoff – Corporal Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly
Mike Farrell – Captain B. J. Hunnicutt
Harry Morgan – Colonel Sherman T. Potter
Jamie Farr – Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger
William Christopher – Father Francis Mulcahy
David Ogden Stiers – Major Charles Emerson Winchester III
M*A*S*H trivia and facts
Radar’s teddy bear, exhibited at the Smithsonian, was sold at auction on July 29, 2005, for $11,800. The teddy was originally found on the set at Fox Ranch, where the series was filmed.
On Sesame Street, Big Bird’s teddy bear is named Radar. This is in homage to Radar O’Reilly’s teddy bear.
Col. Blake’s alma mater was the University of Illinois. When word of this reached the university, a U of I sweater (of appropriate vintage) was donated to the show, and Blake can be seen wearing the blue sweater with a large orange “I” in several episodes. An orange mug with a blue “I” also appeared on his office desk.
Jamie Farr and Alan Alda were the only two cast members to have actually served in the US Army in Korea. Both of them did their tours of duty after the 1953 cease fire.
Hawkeye’s home town is Crabapple Cove, Maine (the only home town of the characters that is fictitious.) However, in “Dear Dad,” Hawkeye mentions the family home in Vermont; in “The Late Captain Pierce”, Hawkeye tells Klinger that Crabapple Cove is where his family summers; in “The Party”, he says that his father hasn’t left Crabapple Cove in years; in “Hawk’s Nightmare”, he says that his father was born in Crabapple Cove, and has never left.
Colonel Potter’s Horse Sophie is played by several different horses. In many cases Sophie, a mare, is in fact played by a male horse.
McLean Stevenson, who played Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, died of a heart attack on 15 February 1996. The next day, Roger Bowen, who played Lt. Colonel Henry Blake in the movie, died of the same cause.
Gary Burghoff’s left hand is slightly deformed, and he took great pains to hide or de-emphasize it during filming. He did this by always holding something or keeping that hand in his pocket.
When the series was shown in the UK, it didn’t have a laugh track. The BBC left it switched on by mistake and received a number of complaints that the intrusive canned laughter spoilt the show’s atmosphere.
Robert Alda, Alan Alda’s father, had guest appearances in two episodes, “The Consultant” and “Lend a Hand”. “Lend a Hand” also featured a guest appearance by Antony Alda, Alan Alda’s brother.
Gary Burghoff played his character’s own mother in the fourth-season episode “Mail Call Again”.
Corporal Klinger frequently refers to a baseball team named the Toledo Mud Hens. This team exists in reality. Founded in 1896, it is the AAA minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and is part of the West Division of the International Baseball League.
The MASH 4077 actually consisted of two separate sets. An outdoor set, located in the mountains near Malibu, California, was used for all exterior and tent scenes for the first few seasons. The indoor set, located on a sound stage at Fox studios, was used for the indoor scenes for the run of the series. Later, after the indoor set was renovated to permit many of the “outdoor” scenes to be filmed there, both sets were used for exterior shooting.
Alan Alda had a different idea for the final episode. After a typical half-hour episode, a “breaking the fourth wall” routine would happen: the director would yell ‘cut,’ the actors would walk off screen, and Alan Alda would say, ‘Well, for the last 11 years we tried to show you what war was like, but it’s not as much fun.’
MASH 4077 Quotes
Hawkeye: I’m too frightened to be scared.
Hawkeye: [after discovering a patient that is a baby] Boy, did his draft board go crazy!
Charles: Klinger, you are a gentleman and a lady.
Margaret: Oh, Frank. You’re so above average.
Henry Blake: Do we have enough sherry and ginger-ale for the General?
Radar: Oh, nobody does, sir.
Henry Blake: Oh, fine then, if nobody does we don’t have to, but make sure we do, just in case we don’t.
Radar: [takes a drink of Hawkeye's home-made gin, and grimaces] I thought this stuff was supposed to make you feel better.
B.J.: No. It’s supposed to make you feel nothing.
Col. Potter (about Hawkeye and BJ): Please excuse these two, they’re themselves today.
Hawkeye: Insanity is just a state of mind
Henry Blake: You’re always wrong, Frank. That’s what’s so right about you.
Frank Burns: I love it here.
Col. Potter: Either you or Klinger is nuts. Now I have to figure out which one.
Henry Blake: Will you stop saying what I’m thinking?
Radar: One of us has to.
Trapper: [after being asked a question] How should I know? I dropped out of school to become a doctor.
Radar: Sir, there’s someone waiting to see you.
Henry Blake: I was born with someone waiting to see me.
Radar: Sir, I was just crossing the compound when…
Frank Burns: I have no interest in the compound.
Klinger: He has no compound-interest.
Frank Burns: I’m sick of hearing about the wounded. What about all the thousands of wonderful guys who are fighting this war without any of the credit or the glory that always goes to those lucky few who just happen to get shot?
Hawkeye: How much of this can a man take? We must have seen this picture twelve times in the last month. Its a recurring nightmare with popcorn.
Hawkeye: Blow in my ear.
Hawkeye: I’m so cold I think my pilot’s gone out.
PA System: Attention all personnel. Due to the shortage of oil and wood, tonight’s movie will be burned at 1800.
Hawkeye: Margaret, I’m honored, touched… and aroused.
Trapper: They got a lot of guts.
Hawkeye: And they keep serving them.
Frank Burns: You disgust me!
Hawkeye: You’re right, Frank… I discussed you with everyone I know and we all find you disgusting.
Father Mulcahy: Colonel, an ambulance has turned over in the compound, you better come on the double.
Col. Potter: Anybody hurt?
Father Mulcahy: Well, the driver’s a bit shaken-up, but he’ll be all right.
Col. Potter: No-one else inside?
Father Mulcahy: No.
Col. Potter: Thank God.
Father Mulcahy: I already did.